I’m angry, I’m angry because we face the greatest refugee crisis since World War Two and we are asking the wrong question. We are asking how do we stop them when we should be asking how can we help.
We have a media and a Parliament that have delivered the death of compassion. We have seen refugees called swarms, we have heard they are only fleeing their nations for free money and paid for housing. We are being told we are being taken advantage of.
To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity – Nelson Mandela
Ask yourself this question if you were born in Syria, Libya, or Afghanistan would you not flee. Would you stay caught between extremists, warlords, dictators and the threat of murder, torture, rape, or enslavement would you not try to escape?
We are told we need better border control, that the European dream is to blame, that we are a soft touch. None of this is true.
We have allowed our leaders to sell weapons, export the tools of death and embark on arms deals with murderers.
This is a defining moment in what it means to be a loving society, to be a compassionate nation. Will we close our doors and leave people to die in their homes or drown in the seas around Europe. Will we send an army to protect the idea of a line on a map.
Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone – Edith Cavell
The answer should always be no. We need to demand a two part solution, one to offer immediate support to the worlds displaced, homeless and destitute, and that we end our participation in the creation of situations that cause the crisis. Need I remind you that The Prime-minister signed off export certificates for the components of chemical weapons to Syria while Assad was gassing his people. Thankfully the company involved thought better than to follow through in the end.
But more than that, where is the humanity, we are one world and one people, we are all sisters and brothers, we all came from the same root and are only separated by the lines on maps our leaders drew in the blood of their citizens. We are not supposed to decide someone’s right to life because of the name of the place they were born.
Does a child deserve to die, be refused education, or face a future full of fear because of the flag on the front of a passport? To say no to refugees isn’t to defend a nation, it’s to allow the destruction of a people. More than 200,000 Syrians are dead, half of the nation are displaced, we ignored their plight for 4 years.
Look at this picture, a Kurdish child who learned to surrender before she learned to read, doesn’t that tell you enough about why you need to do something on it’s own. I carry this picture on my phone to remind me why after 20 years I remain a human rights activist.
Across the world millions are condemned to die for a map, a lack of interest and the idea that it shouldn’t concern us.
We are better than that, at least I hope we are.
4 years ago I attended many demonstrations to get the Syrian government thrown out of their embassy here, they were using it to intimidate and threaten exiles and students into supporting the regime. While there I saw a Grandmother who lived in exile laying on the floor wrecked with grief, her entire family including her grandchildren, including toddlers had been brutally murdered with machetes. There are no words, no tears that could fix that now, but there are actions and things that could save others.
I speak not for myself but for those without voice – Malala Yousafzai
Assad won’t change, in a place called Hama his father and uncle killed most of the city to prove a point. The Assad dynasty has carved its existence in the blood of the innocent. The Syrian people need our love.
People are not valued in cost benefit analysis, human lives are not a commodity, and this is why I’m so angry at the death of compassion. It should shame us all that we need to see it played out on rolling news for it to matter.
I’ll end with a quote from Nye Bevan . .
“Soon, if we are not prudent, millions of people will be watching each other starve to death through expensive television sets”